Wick and Stick

I really like candles. I love how they bring a flicker of light and sighs of relief in a power failure; how they brighten the table and seem to usher in the holy when we sit down to eat. I love the atmosphere of calm they bring in to any room in which they glow. I marvel at how just one or a few can warm a room, and I always enjoy and soak myself in their welcome and warmth.

Before dinner, not long ago, I was blessed with a moment of reflection as I traced the stream of wax gracefully gliding down the side of the smooth pillar candle on our table back up to its wick:

The same fire that came at the striking of the match was that which lit the wick of the candle, and each produced rather different effects and results.

Two different compositions: wooden stick – rigid, brittle yet porous, and unprotected to the outside elements swirling within the room; and cotton wick – soft tightly woven strands anchored at the bottom and within an encasement of pearly white wax.

Two different compositions, two uniquely distinct materials within two different environments touched by the same flame.

When that flame ignites upon the match, it’s as if the combination of its porousness and the elements surrounding it seem to set it up to be rapidly devoured and consumed. So within a few seconds, the whole of it disappears either in a puff of wind, or as it is whipped about before it reaches fingertips, or fizzles out in last gasp and charred cinders at its last in the sink.

The wick though burned down to the surface of the cold wax. But no sooner was a hole bored than it was filled, and the wick continued to burn, consumed more in a rhythmic dance of harmonious relationship – replenished as much as replenishing the molten liquid in which it soaked, warming as much as being warmed by its core, its heat radiating outward to seep and waft into the world around it.

A heart, hard and stubborn, exposed and vulnerable yet resolute in resisting dependence on Provisional Flame; a heart shining brightly, but only once and only briefly. And a heart soft and willing, secure in its Anchor and protection, ready and welcoming of the chance to withstand but only briefly, to shine bold and bright, long and lasting.

But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.
(Ezekiel 3:7)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; he refuses to let the people go.” (Exodus 7:14)

heart-of-fleshMake me as the wick, Papa! Anchor me deep in you and surround me on every side, so that when your Fire comes to purify, to clean out the rubbish and debris, I welcome replacing all with your Light; so that I continue to delight in the knowledge that I will never be consumed, that I am free to touch and warm others, for you replenish me. Make me to always be reachable and teachable and eager for relationship with you, and soak me in the pools of your Spirit so my natural outpouring is willingness and availability. Make your Flame to ignite your Light to burn away all thoughts and attitudes and behaviours that have held me back. Make your Flame to extinguish all worry so that I claim your promises for myself, and proclaim them through your warmth in me to others. Make your Glory and delight-filled purposes to shine perpetually in and through me!

You know, I found out something pretty interesting about what remains behind when you blow out a candle that just doesn’t seem to compare with the same for a match. Apparently, the trail you see from its wick is not really smoke. No, that wisp actually contains remnant particles of wax that haven’t yet burned, and that remnant can be lit anew to relight the wick of the same candle, or another. (

Interesting, isn’t it? And maybe even a bit encouraging .. just maybe a promise?

“You make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.”
Psalm 104:4

Soil and Seed